Seventh Circuit decision on American Pipe tolling

The Seventh Circuit today decided Collins v. Village of Palatine about when class-action tolling under the American Pipe doctrine stops. Here's the court's answer: 

When a plaintiff files a complaint on behalf of a proposed class, the statute of limitations for the claim is tolled for each member of the class. Am. Pipe & Constr. Co. v. Utah, 414 U.S. 538, 550 (1974). The tolling continues until the case is “stripped of its character as a class action.” United Airlines, Inc. v. McDonald, 432 U.S. 385, 393 (1977) (quoting FED. R. CIV. P. 23 advisory committee’s note to 1966 amendment). This “stripping” occurs immediately when a district judge denies class certification, dismisses the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction without deciding the class-certification question, or otherwise dismisses the case without prejudice. The question before us is whether a dismissal with prejudice also strips a case of its class-action character. The district court concluded that it does. We agree and adopt a simple and uniform rule: Tolling stops immediately when a class-action suit is dismissed—with or without prejudice—before the class is certified.

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